Ron Howard is a Hollywood icon who has earned his A-list status in the movie industry with a career spanning over three decades. Ron started his career as a child actor, appearing in several movies. From childhood, he gained public attention and approval, but his most notable role at the time was on The Andy Griffith Show. Ron played his role as Opie Taylor for eight years, from 1960 to 1968. He starred alongside the show’s protagonist, Andy Griffith, who was Andy Taylor on the CBS-produced TV series.
As a child, the star made a name for himself with acting credits including Twilight Zone, Happy Days, The Music Man, and American Graffiti. However, The Andy Griffith Show had a notable influence on his character and was the boost his acting resume needed. In recent times, a now 67-year-old Ron has confirmed this, as well as praising the lifelong lessons he gleaned from the show’s late superstar, Andy Griffith. Here’s all he has had to say about the show that propelled his stardom.
8 He Remains Grateful For The Show’s Impact On His Career
These days, Ron has gone on to become one of the powerhouse directors in Hollywood, but it all started when he was a little boy with big dreams. At the age of 6, Ron’s parents, who were also in Hollywood, let him audition for the show. He got the Opie Taylor role, and so his journey began with Andy Griffith. Ron appeared on the sitcom in 209 episodes for eight seasons. So he literally grew up before the eyes of TV lovers. The Andy Griffith Show set him on a successful path as far as his following TV gigs were concerned.
7 Howard Cherishes Griffith’s Influence
In a 2010 interview, Howard spoke beautifully about his childhood memories on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. He opened up on how his co-star and TV dad had treated him off the set. The movie director relayed: “He treated me really well, but he made it a learning experience, not in a stern, taskmaster kind of a way, but I was really allowed a real insight into creativity and how things work and why some scenes were funny, and others weren’t.”
6 Griffith’s Insight Helped Howard In His Career
Ron added that the insight from the late actor served him well in his career in the years that followed. He added that Griffith was “really kind” to him, always playful while getting the job done. After Griffith passed on in 2012 at the age of 86, Ron took out time to share a soulful tribute on social media. He penned on Twitter: “His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy.”
5 Ron Got Along With Other Cast Members
The How The Grinch Stole Christmas director once shared that his amiable relationship with Griffith was similar to his relationship with the crew members. He recalled how his views were respected despite the fact that he was a young actor. Even though Ron was an actor in his formative years, he had an avid interest in the entire creative process on set.
4 Ron Is Happy He Was Allowed To Express Himself
His views were respected, and he got to make changes during the filming process. This was not something that came quickly because Ron’s ideas were not immediately accepted. The first time Ron influenced the show, it had been to change one of his lines. He wanted Opie to sound more natural, and the crew allowed him to affect changes. He recalled how the show’s director Bob Sweeney took time to listen to him and give the go-ahead for his idea to be implemented. The star actor noted that the episode was titled Barney’s Replacement. He recalled how he made it known that one of his lines was not something a kid would say, and Sweeney had agreed. Ron remembered how refreshing it felt to have his view respected.
3 He Feels Lucky To Have Had His Dad On Set
Ron’s father, Rance, had a significant influence on how his Opie Taylor character was created and portrayed on the show. Ron once shared that he was originally supposed to be a typical sitcom wisecracker kid – a kid with a smart mouth who would often throw around punchlines, make jokes, and comebacks. He recalled that Rance was always on set then, watching what was going on.
2 Ron Recalls His Dad Pitching What Opie Should Be
However, he recalled that his late father shared his idea on how Opie should be. Rance pitched what Opie should look like, noting that he could be a more respectable child who knew his father was more intelligent than him. Ron shared that he found out about this many years later. Ron added that Griffith took the observation well and worked on changing Opie’s character to Rance’s pitch. Consequently, Opie was made to be a well-mannered and respectful character.
1 The A-List Director Say It Felt Natural Playing Opie
Ron has relayed that it was all-natural playing Opie, but he was the brain behind making the character natural in hindsight. Ron had to master the thick southern accent like his TV dad’s, and it came out just right. He added that what made his role original was because his on-screen relationship with Griffth was similar to the one he had with his father. He relayed that it was “just simple, straightforward truthfulness.”